Michigan hockey reclaims top spot but could drop

Michigan hockey team is back on the summit of the national polls after a four-game winning run. The Wolverines (10-2) climbed from No. 2 to No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online and USA Hockey polls.

Michigan swept No. 19 Penn State with resounding 5-1 and 6-2 wins. In its last four games, Michigan outscored its opponents 21-7 with covering the odds for the game. Ever since splitting two weekend series with Western Michigan and Wisconsin, the Wolverines have been dynamite.

Michigan is the top-scoring team in the country, led by its high-profile draft picks. Six different Wolverines players are averaging more than a point per game. They are Kent Johnson (20), Power (18), Matty Beniers (15), Brendan Brisson (13), Luke Hughes (13) and Thomas Bordeleau (12). Beniers leads the team in goals with nine and Johnson's 20 points are tied for the league lead.

Michigan, the only college team ever with seven NHL first-round picks on its roster, last held the No. 1 spot on Oct. 18 after starting 4-0 but dropped the following week after a split against Western Michigan.

However, the defeat to Notre Dame could see them drop.

The No 14 team grabbed an overtime victory 5-4 at Yost Ice Arena (5,800).

Max Ellis had three goals on the night, including the overtime winner, as he collected his first career hat trick.

In a game that featured four ties and a frantic pace throughout, Graham Slaggert and Jesse Lansdell also scored for the Irish.

The Notre Dame penalty kill came up big, holding the nation’s top statistical power play to an 0-for-5 mark on the night, including two extended 5-on-3 chances.

In net, Ryan Bischel made 37 saves including three in overtime to earn the win. Michigan’s Erik Portillo finished with 16 saves for the Wolverines.

Notre Dame has now won six games in a row on the season to improve to 10-3-0 overall. The Irish have also won seven straight at Yost Ice Arena — including four straight with Bischel in net.

Notre Dame got the game’s first power play just over five minutes into the first and Grant Silianoff and Nick Leivermann had chances before the advantage was negated by an Irish minor.

The loss also is Michigan’s sixth straight against Notre Dame at Yost Ice Arena.

"We just weren’t good enough in the third period," said sophomore defenseman Owen Power, the No. 1 overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2021 NHL Draft. "I don’t think we we’re very good at all. You can’t win too many games when you play like that."

"It’s just that sense of urgency," Pearson said. "Even on their second goal, we had an opportunity -- we had full possession to break the puck out, and we didn’t get out of our zone, turned it over and it stays in our zone. We just have to manage the game a little bit better than we did tonight, especially once we get the lead."

Michigan (10-3, 5-2) leads the nation in scoring, but Notre Dame bottled up its top offensive threats for most of the game. The Irish’s sound system and physical style began to take a toll on the Wolverines as the game went on.

"They hit everything and they really lined it up against us," Pearson said. "Sometimes, you’re just gonna have to chip and chase if you don’t have the speed to gain the zone and go get it. I thought we got away from that in the third period. We just didn’t have that forechecking presence that we needed to hem them in. A few shifts we did, but we’ve got to get everybody doing that."

St. Cloud State, meanwhile, dropped to second place, a combination of a 3-2 OT loss to No. 11 Omaha Saturday night and the dominating way in which Michigan has been playing.

Minnesota State had a huge weekend against Bowling Green, beating the Falcons 9-2 Friday night and 5-3 on Saturday. The Mavericks stay at No. 3 and online casino canada real money is looking forward to their next position.

Quinnipiac, meanwhile, swept Arizona State last weekend, coming back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-3. The side is the biggest jumper, winning five in a row and unbeaten since Oct. 23, against then-No. 6 North Dakota.

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